GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s and women’s cross country programs travel to Earlysville, Va., Friday for the 2013 NCAA Southeast Regional race hosted by the University of Virginia at Panorama Farms. The men’s 10,000-meter race will begin at Noon Friday while the women’s 6,000-meter race starts at 1:15 p.m. Live results will be offered with a link available at www.uncgspartans.com.
Senior Paul Chelimo (Chebiemit, Kenya/Chebiemit Boys School) leads the men’s team into the NCAA Regional as the three-time defending Southern Conference champion and a reigning Cross Country All-America honoree. Chelimo has placed second in the NCAA Southeast Regional the past two seasons, advancing to the National Championship as an individual performer.
Last season, Chelimo posted a time of 29:36.51 at McAlpine Park in Charlotte to place second. He turned in a personal-best time of 29:29.80 at the NCAA Championships when he posted a 10th place finish. Eastern Kentucky’s Soufiane Bouchikhi returns to defend his regional crown after edging out Chelimo last season in the 10,000-meter course.
Junior Paul Katam (Eldoret, Kenya/Sacho) is also in the mix for the Regional title after placing fifth last year in the NCAA Southeast section and advancing for the NCAA Championships for the first time. Katam turned in a personal-record time of 29:43.62 at McAlpine Park to earn an individual spot in the championships. He went to Louisville and placed 77th overall in the pinnacle race.
On the women’s side, senior twins Chelsea Sumney (Washington, Pa./Trinity) and Shaina Sumney (Washington, Pa./Trinity) lead the Spartans. Chelsea placed 15th at the NCAA Southeast Regional last year, posting a career-best time of 21:00.91. She is coming off a seventh place finish at the Southern Conference Championship last time out. Shaina owns a personal-best time of 21:31.99 in the 6,000-meter distance, set at the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regionals. She finished fourth at the SoCon Championship race.
Sophomore Lydia Saina (Eldoret, Kenya/Kapkenda Girls School) is also coming off a strong showing, placing sixth at the SoCon meet. Last year, Saina turned in a time of 23:09.50 in the 6,000-meter distance at the Pre-Nationals race and placed 161st at the NCAA Southeast Regional.
The top-two teams and top-four individuals at each of the nine regional meets will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships to be held in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23. Thirteen teams will also earn at-large bids, to be announced on Saturday, Nov. 16.
- UNCG -